↣ How long can beer be left in the primary fermenter?


What is the risk of leaving a beer in the primary fermenter too long?


As a general rule of thumb, one can leave the beer in the primary fermenter as long as one needs.

There is no set maximum time limit, though there are a couple of risks to keep in mind.

Many brewers simply follow the beer recipe or instructions on the malt kit and leave their wort to ferment for around a week to ten days. This usually allows enough time for fermentation to have completed.

And technically that's OK, and it's time to bottle.

But the mystery and muscle of brewing beer are that there is a whole range of chemical processes happening in that wort you're fermenting.

Sure the yeast may have produced enough alcohol to make a good drop of beer but there are still a few things that happen.

The longer you leave your beer, the more chance the yeast has to get rid of smells and other leftovers from the fermentation process.

A great example of this is the presence of acetaldehyde in the wort. This chemicals forms at the beginning of the fermentation process. It tastes like sour green apple and is not really conducive to a good brew. Giving your beer batch time to work through this will mean a better tasting beer.

What's the best way to get rid of  'apple taste' from beer?


Let the yeast take the time to convert it into ethanol (alcohol).

So leaving your beer for longer than the recommended instructions on the tin of the beer kit is pretty much a smart move. Frankly, given the benefit to the beer and thus the kit manufacturer's reputation, I do not know why they don't frame the time as a minimum.

That said, when I followed Te Aro's brewing instructions for their Obligatory ale, I made damn good beer.

Exceptions aside, the longer you condition your beer, the greater reduction in acetaldehyde that will occur and the beer your beer will take.

Stout beers have even more to work through so they can happily take longer in the primary.

Another benefit of leaving the beer in the primary for longer is that there is a greater chance that your beer will clear more sediment, thus giving you clear beer

Many a brewer likes to see their lager look like a lager - that classic light yellow / orange combo. Sure, some wheat beers can be a bit hazy.

At the end of the day this comes down to personal preference as the beer taste is not generally affected.

It's also important to consider the role temperature can play. If you want a short fermentation period but it's cold, then you may have to simply allow more time because the yeast slows down the alcohol production process when chilled. 

What about leaving beer in for extra long times like 3 months?

Many brewers have reported leaving batches for months and suffered no issues.

I'd reason though that the beer was stored in a cool place - a beer wort left in a hot environment is sure to fail as the yeast would probably get cooked.

The lid was probably screwed on very tightly as well and the beer must be kept out of the light. Put a sheet over it!

There is an issue that can happen called autolysis.

This is when the yeast cells die, giving off some potentially 'off flavours'. These could be hydrolytic enzymes, lipids, and metal cations that can contribute to off flavor.

If you've made a healthy batch with a quality yeast, pitched at a good temperature and brewed in a stable environment, then the risks of autolysis are quite low. 

If you are quite concerned about this, you could counter by racking your beer to a secondary, thus removing the yeast cake from the equation.

It's important to note, the same process begins again when the beer is bottle conditioned - more sugar is added to the beer for the yeast to eat - this is because CO2 is the by-product of fermentation and is trapped in the beer.

Most beers strongly benefit from being bottle conditioned for three weeks before consumption and even then they usually start to become pretty drinkable at the 5 week mark. If you have placed a lot of hops in your beer, remember that their effect reduces over time so once a well hopped beer has reached optimal drinking time, you may as well drink them!

0 comments:

Post a Comment

Powered by Blogger.

Tags

absorption caps abv acetaldehyde acid adjuncts advice about beer brewing aeration aeration kit aging air lock alcohol ale ale beer kits alkaline alkaline brewery wash all grain american apera apples attenuation autolysis automatic temperature compensation bacteria baker's yeast baking yeast ball lock ball valve bar keepers friend barley batch prime beer brewing beer capper beer dispenser beer filtration kit system beer gushers beer kit beer kit review beer kits beer lines beer salt beer taps beerstone best brewing equipment biotin bittering BKF black rock bleach blichmann blow off tubing bluelab bohemian pilsner boil in a bag boil over boneface bottle cap bottle caps bottling bottling beer bottling spigot bourbon brettanomyces brew and review brew day brewing beer guide brewing salts brewing spoon brewing sugar brewing thermostat british thermal unit brix brix scale BTU bud light buffer buffer solution burton snatch buyer's guide calcium chloride calcium sulphate calibration calibration probe calibration solution campden tablets capping carbon dioxide carbonation carbonation drops carboy cascade caustic soda chinook chlorine christmas chronicle cider cleaning your equipment clear beer clone recipe cloudy beer cold crashing coldbreak conditioning tablets conductivity conical fermenter contamination coopers copper tun corn sugar cornelius corny keg craft beer creamy beer crown cryo hops cubes danstar nottingham death from above demijohn dextrose distilation DIY DME dry hopping edelmetall brü burner ekuanot electrode enhancer enzyme equipment ester ethanol experiments in beer making faucet fermcap-s fermentables fermentation fermentation system fermenter fermentis fermentor final gravity finings five star floccing foam inhibitor french fresh wort pack fridge fruit fusel alchohol garage project gas burners gelatin gift and present ideas gin ginger beer golden ale golden syrup goldings grain grain mill green bullet grist guinness gypsum hach hacks hallertauer heat pad home brew honey hop schedule hops hops spider how not to brew beer how to brew that first beer how to brew with a beer kit how to grow hops how to make a hop tea how to wash yeast hydrated layer hydrogen sulfide hydrometer IBU ideas idophor infection inkbird instruments isoamyl acetate jelly beans jockey box john palmer jos ruffell juniper keezer keg cooler keg regulators kegco kegerator kegging kegs kettle kombucha krausen lactic acid lager lagering lauter litmus lupulin lupulin powder lupuLN2 making beer malic acid malt malt mill maltodextrin mangrove jack's maple syrup mash mash paddle mash tun mead methanol micro brewing milling milwaukee MW102 mistakes mixing instructions moa mouth feel muntons must nano brewing New Zealand Brewer's Series no rinse nut brown ale oak oak wood chips off flavors original gravity oxygen pacific gem pale ale panhead PBW pear pectine pectolase pete gillespie ph levels ph meter ph pen pH strips ph tester pico brewing pilsner pitching yeast plastic drum poppet valve pot powdered brewing wash precipitated chalk pressure relief valve priming probe problem solving propane and propane accessories pump system purity law re-using yeast recipe record keeping reddit refractometer reinheitsgebot removing beer labels from bottles review rice hulls riwaka rotten eggs saaz saccharomyces cerevisiae sanitization secondary regulator sediment session beer silicon simple tricks for brewing siphon site glass skunked beer small batch brewing soda ash sodium carbonate sodium carbonate peroxyhydrate sodium hydroxide sodium metasilicate sodium percarbonate sour beer sparge spigot spirals spirits spoon spraymalt star san STC-1000 steinlager stella artois steralisation sterilisation sterilization sterliization storage solution stout sucrose sugar supercharger tannins temperature temperature controller thermometer tips for beginners tri-sodium phopsphate tricks and tips trub tubing tui turkey vorlauf water water testing wet cardboard taste wet hopping whirlfloc tablets williamswarn wine winter brewing wood wort wort chiller yeast yeast energizer yeast nutrient yeast starter
Back to Top